Profile

CURTIS, Arthur George
(Service number 49607)

Aliases
First Rank Private Last Rank Private

Birth

Date 1 May 1895 Place of Birth Albury, South Canterbury, New Zealand

Enlistment Information

Date 27 February 1917 Age 21
Address at Enlistment Albury, South Canterbury, New Zealand
Occupation Farm hand, Labourer (for I Curtis)
Previous Military Experience 2nd (South Canterbury) Regiment
Marital Status Single
Next of Kin Jane Curtis (mother) Albury, South Canterbury, New Zealand
Religion Presbyterian
Medical Information 5 foot 5 1/4 inches tall, weight 138 lbs, chest 34-36 inches, fair hair, brown eyes, medium complexion

Military Service

Served with NZ Armed Forces Served in Army
Military District

Embarkation Information

Body on Embarkation 27th Reinforcements
Unit, Squadron, or Ship Canterbury Infantry Regiment, C Company
Date 13 June 1917
Transport HMNZT 87 Tahiti
Embarked From Wellington, New Zealand Destination Devonport, England
Other Units Served With 2nd Battalion, Canterbury Infantry Regiment
Last Unit Served With 2nd Battalion, Canterbury Infantry Regiment

Military Awards

Campaigns Western Europe (France)
Service Medals British War Medal; Victory Medal
Military Awards

Award Circumstances and Date

No information

Prisoner of War Information

Date of Capture
Where Captured and by Whom
Actions Prior to Capture
PoW Serial Number
PoW Camps
Days Interned
Liberation Date

Discharge

Date 21 July 1919 Reason Termination of his period of engagement

Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses

Post-war Occupations

1919 - Farmer Labourer, Albury, South Canterbury, New Zealand; and from 1943(?) Farmer, Kulara, Atherton Tablelands, Queensland, Australia

Death

Date 16 June 1983 Age 88 years
Place of Death Yungaburra, Atherton, Queensland, Australia
Cause
Notices
Memorial or Cemetery Atherton Cemetery, Queensland, Australia
Memorial Reference
New Zealand Memorials Listed as a returned soldier on the Te Ngawai Memorial (on the old school site), erected in 1947.

Biographical Notes

Arthur was born in Albury, South Canterbury, on 1 May 1895 to Jane Elizabeth Curtis. Arthur was raised by his grandparents Isaac and Jane Curtis, who farmed at Te Ngawai, Albury. After being schooled at Te Ngawai Arthur working in the region as a farm labourer.

When he enlisted on 27 February 1917, Arthur was working as a farm labourer for his grandfather. He was described as being aged 21, Presbyterian, single, 5 foot 5 ¼ inches tall, weighing 138 lbs, having fair hair and brown eyes, of medium complexion and his chest measuring 34-36 inches. He nominated his mother Jane, who was living at home in Albury, as his next of kin. Jane (1878-1965) later married Leonard James Pratley (1876-1946), and both are buried in the Ashburton Cemetery.

Posted as a Private to the Canterbury Infantry Regiment and having had some previous military experience with the 2nd South Canterbury Regiment, he was promoted to Lance Corporal on 12 May. He left with the 27th Reinforcements from Wellington on 12 June 1917 aboard SS Tahiti (HMNZT 87) bound for Devonport, England, and landed there on 16 August. Immediately on arrival he relinquished his rank of Lance Corporal and returned to being a Private. After further training at Sling Camp, he left for France on 6 October and on 25 October 1917, was posted as a re-enforcement to the 2nd Battalion Canterbury Regiment. This Battalion served with distinction in France and was involved in all the major battles and the march into Germany. Private Curtis was detached back to the UK on 21 February 1919, and boarded the SS Maunganui at Liverpool on 17 May for his return to NZ. By this time he had served a total of 2 years and 12 days overseas, and at the end of the war, was awarded the British War Medal and Victory Medal for his service.

Arthur returned to work on the family farm at Albury but on 24 February 1920 a social evening was held for Isaac, Arthur, and Anne Curtis (grandchildren of Isaac) as Isaac had sold his farm and was travelling back to England for a year to see family and friends.

Research by descendants reveal that later Arthur bought a farm at Broadfields, south oif Christchurch, in February 1926 which he sold in April 1927. At some point he left for Australia, resulting in his family losing contact with him. In 1927 he appears in a Queensland newspaper article looking for work at the South Johnstone sugar mill (south of Cairns) where he was involved in a fight with striking workers. They pushed him off a bridge and he fell 9 foot to the snad below. While he managed to crawl back up with his suitcase he was then beaten even though a policeman was present. From 1943 he appears at Kulara in the Leichardt area of the Atherton Tablelands, Queensland. Land here was marginal and cheap and Arthur had difficulty with roaving dingoes killing his stock. In 1977 he was recorded as living at Russell Pocket Road, Yungaburra, Atherton. Electoral rolls showed him living in the area until 1980, after which the farm was sold and Arthur moved into a nursing home. In the process of the research contact was made with a family who had befriended Arthur, They told how he joined them for Sunday roast, describing him as a lovely man who kept very much to himself.

Arthur died on 16 June 1983, and is buried in the Atherton Cemetery. Arthur never married.

Sources

Auckland War Memorial Museum Cenotaph Database [21 June 2016]; SCRoll submissions from M Mowatt and P Bishop, 15 June & 29 September 2016; University of New South Wales, Canberra NZEF Project "New Zeland Anzacs in ther Great War 1914-1918" at http://nzef.adfa.edu.au/showPerson?pid=60085; Official History of the Canterbury Regiment at http://nzetc.victoria.ac.nz/tm/scholarly/tei-WH1-Cant.html; Birth, Deaths, and Marriages at https://bdmhistoricalrecords.dia.govt.nz; Burial at Atherton Queensland Australia found on Family Search at https://familysearch.org/search/collection/results?count=20&query=%2Bgivenname%3A%22arthur%20george%22~%20%2Bsurname%3Acurtis~%20%2Bdeath_year%3A1950-2000~&collection_id=1927198; "Camp appointments" in the Dominion 16 May 1917 p6, "Returning Soldiers" in the Timaru Herald 16 June 1919 p5, and "Farewell to an Old Settler" in the Timaru Herald 24 February 1920 p9, courtesy of Papers Past at http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz [accessed August 2016]; Genealogical research material by M Mowat, supplied to SCRoll, 6 September 2016;

External Links

Related Documents

No documents available.

Researched and Written by

Ted Hanson, SC branch NZSG

Currently Assigned to

Not assigned.

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